The politics of geographical boundaries are incredibly complicated, and engulfed in years and sometimes generations of dispute. Here in the US, the illegal immigration of Mexicans across the borders in California and Texas remains high on the political agenda, but the issues and conflicts it inspires remain unresolved. But, on the afternoon of Sunday June 22, a group from San Diego called The Border Meetup sought not to divide the two nations but to find the gift of unity through yoga.
Yogis from Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, CA came together to practice yoga on both sides of the border fence. The purpose of the gathering was very much the same as the purpose of the practice itself, to remove the veil of separation, be it tangible or psychological, and encourage the experience of unity that transcends geographical demarcation and personal prejudice. Every few months, the group organizes a gathering on both sides of the border based on a theme that “has no borders” in the hopes of improving the region through understanding and friendships across cultural boundaries.
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On the afternoon of the 22nd of June, that theme was one that by pure definition means joining together. Teacher Javier Alonso Bazua from Tijuana led the bi-national group in an asana practice based on friendship and love taught through the partition of the gate meant to separate not unite. This experience and its surroundings, often in direct contrast to one another, illustrated goal of the The Border Meetup group; to bring people together across cultures in an effort to improve the region and cultivate friendship and understanding, a transformation that is bigger than politics or fences.
We often find ourselves surrendering to the external circumstances of our situations in life, and then placing blame to ease our own misgivings. Be it border relations or neighborhood disputes, so often we throw up our hands in exasperation and resign ourselves to helplessness, anger, or the creation of boundaries in ourselves. What The Border Meetup Group is showing us is that we are all humans regardless of location or circumstance, and that with just a little effort, we can find our commonality far outweighs our separateness. Through the uniting of cultures in shared activities, many people are finding that we are not that different after all. The fear of the unknown “them” across the fence starts to fade, and compassion grows in its place.
It is the fear that the line drawers count on, though. By placing another person, culture, or nationality in opposition to ourselves, they find support for division and endorsement of measures that will keep us apart. One side becomes the victor and the other is defeated. But through yoga practice and groups like The Border Meetup, a deeper understanding can emerge, one that is not based in external circumstances but emerges from that place in us that exists in everyone. That place that we can uncover in a committed practice of yoga, meditation, or simply a practice of unfettered understanding, that place in which we are all one expressed as many unique and interesting individuals.
Has the practice of yoga crossed any boundaries in your life?